Nigeriens are prepared for the great work in Langedijk

Niger: De Groot and Slot want to give projects in Niger a boost

Four Nigeriens were prepared for the large job ahead in the millennium municipality Langedijk over the last few weeks. They flew back to Nigeria on Thursday to bring the two development projects from De Groot and Slot B.V. to a higher level.

Situated in Broek at Langedijk, De Groot and Slot are the worldwide market leader when it comes to starting materials for onion, shallots, garlic, and welsh onions. Alongside that, the company is active within the millennium municipality Langedijk. Since 2005, De Groot and Slot have been supporting two projects in Niger, a extremely poor country that was hit by severe drought and famine.

“Back then we pledged that we would help out with the onion seed production project in Niger for a minimum of ten years," explains Henk de Groot. "A large amount of onions used to be produced in that country, but the crops and export have been falling behind. We are trying to breath new life into corporations with an improved local variety, with success. This year, 5,000 kilos of seed has been produced in Niger. This is enough for 1,000 hectare of onions with a portion being exported to surrounding countries. By working closely with corporations, we would like to make the seed production more professional and expand it to 35,000 kilos per year." The knowledge of the employees from De Groot and Slot is being utilised for the onion seed production project.


School gardening project

De Groot and Slot also support a school garden project in Niger where the employees also contribute financially. De Groot: "Together with Bejo Seeds and Rijk Zwaan, we supply vegetable seeds for school gardens which are maintained by students. They harvest the vegetables in the spring and together with the help of their parents, they use them to create school meals. It is often an extra incentive for poor parents to send their children to school." The school gardening project has become a success in Niger and is in 90 schools with an average of 200 students. "We are creating a project with playful learning as it aim and by integrating it with the Oxfam Novib partner MCE, we want to launch it throughout all of Niger in the coming years," De Groot feels optimistic about the future.

Employees of De Groot en Slot intended to travel to Niger this autumn to take both projects to a higher level. They did not manage to obtain visas due to political unrest in the country. De Groot: "At that point, we decided to bring several of our Nigerien contact people to Langedijk. The were extensively briefed for a week and a half about, for example, setting up a seed house and will return on Thursday to turn that gained knowledge in to practice."

Source: De Groot & Slot

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